Gilmour breaks the ice with fans

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – After signing autographs, shaking hands, and taking pictures for over an hour, hockey icon Doug Gilmour scored some major points with fans in Cornwall.

Jessica Langden, 21, fought back tears of joy as he signed her Toronto Maple Leafs jersey (#93 no less) at Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill in Cornwall on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

“It was really overwhelming meeting him,” said Langden. “I watched him play as a kid and always followed his career.”

The former Cornwall Royal, best known for his time with the Leafs from 1991-97, presented city officials with a $10,000 cheque from the restaurant’s “If Your Team Wins, Your Community Wins” promotion for upgrades to the recreational path

“I respect that he’s a team player. Gilmour was more of a playmaker than a one-shot kind of guy,” she said.

Shoeless Joe’s Cornwall co-owners Bobbi Latour, 33, and Mike Graham, 32, celebrated with a packed house at the event. The couple took over the establishment on Nov. 17, 2014.

“We wanted to give back to the community and this restaurant is helping us do that,” said Latour. “Next year the promotion will be even bigger.”

Gilmour told Seaway News about his Hall-of-Fame career, overcoming his small stature, and the joy of returning to his old stomping grounds.

“I got here early today, went to the Blue Anchor got perch rolls, drove down my old neighbourhood, and visited Pitt Street,” said Gilmour. “It was nice to come back.”

After playing minor hockey in his hometown of Kingston, his junior hockey career began in the 1981-82 season with the Cornwall Royals of the OHL.

Despite Gilmour’s impressive track record, scouts felt his smaller size would not hold up in the National Hockey League. The following year he was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the 7th round, 134th overall at the 1982 NHL entry draft.

“Going through your minor hockey days to getting drafted, you’re always too small or this and that,” said Gilmour. “I loved it because I wanted to prove everybody wrong. The critics sometimes, you get that adrenaline going when they say something about you. You don’t hide from it. Your work ethic is most important. And it’s a team game.”

Gilmour won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989.

“I played 20 years and I only got there once,” he said. “That’s how hard it is to get there. Reflecting back I thought for sure I was going to do it one or two more times. But that’s the way it works. It’s something that’s in the memory bank.”

Three years ago, he visited the Benson Centre as coach of the OHL Kingston Frontenacs (since then he’s moved up the ranks to general manager). And before that it was 14 years ago at a Royals reunion.

In a sea of blue with hints of red, dozens of Leafs fans wore his jersey and a few Montreal Canadiens diehards showed off their connection to Dougie.

“I enjoyed my time there as well. It was in my last two years. I was kind of a rental player, but it was a good experience,” said Gilmour.

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